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Free TAFE student Mitchell Velo is adding some new skills to build his future career

Mitchell started his butchery traineeship at Meatsmith with one day onsite training in the Certificate II in Meat Processing (Food Services) at Angliss for the six-month duration of his course. With the current campus closure in stage four lockdown this training is being conducted online.

"I was looking to gain these new skills in meat processing anyway to expand my career and was thrilled to see the course was free. Having trained at Angliss during my chef apprenticeship it was an easy decision to come back as I enjoyed the environment.

"The chance of one-on-one learning with the smaller classes made it easier to get an understanding of the task at hand. The ability to practice practical skills without time pressures of the workplace definitely made this first step easier.

"This course has given me the ground skills to begin a career in Butchery. Learning at the Institute gave me an understanding and confidence in my abilities which made the transition from kitchens to butchery much easier.

Completing his Certificate III in Professional Cookery in 2015 at William Angliss Institute, Mitchell then travelled overseas working at The Clove Club in London, UK as sous chef and then travelling and working through Europe including to Denmark.

With the current hibernation of the restaurant industry in Melbourne, since May Mitchell has been able to keep working as a butcher at Meatsmith in St. Kilda, in both retail and wholesale.

"In retail I am responsible for setting up the cabinet displays, topping up stock, service of customers, phone orders and general prep and customer requests.

"In wholesale, I work the nice early shift from 5am and get to work with the produce from start to finish. On any given day we can get 20 Lambs, 10 pigs and loins of beef. I am tasked with breaking the bodies into primal cuts ready for retail production. In wholesale we supply the entire McConnell Group as well as a selection of other restaurants around Melbourne with some of the best produce in Victoria," Mitchell said.

Mitchell would one day like to open a restaurant which has a strong focus on small-scale producers where the product determines the menu and not the chefs' desires.

"Trying to use the entire animal head-to-tail with zero waste is the ultimate goal of any butcher shop; I believe that this should also be the focus of the restaurant industry moving forward," Mitchell said.